Stories about government

Why getting your SIM verified is important

The process of biometric verification for all existing SIMs is quite tiring, for telecoms and users alike. So why then is our government persistent on getting every SIM verified? Eons ago, when we were gripped by the frenzy of issuing different SIMs and used to boast about having two to three lines all to ourselves, no one could imagine that we’d have to retrace all our SIMs and get them verified. Some people had their SIMs issued under the names of their deceased beloveds and they are quite perplexed about how to get that biometrically verified. Those who have SIM’s issued under ...

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Perhaps Pakistan can learn from Austria’s madrassas

A year before a mosque in Kanpur (pre-partition India) was razed by our British overlords to pave way for a road, and while a Jinnah-less Muslim League was yet to overhaul its objectives – which until then asserted that ‘the party shall work towards manifesting a sense of loyalty to Britain’ – to work towards creation of a Muslim majority state (Pakistan was still a very distant idea), Austria passed a remarkably inclusive law, setting an example for the rest of the European countries. In 1912, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph passed an act guaranteeing its small minority of Muslims royal patronage by making Islam ...

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Seventy-eight rupees

It was my neighbour who suggested I should go to them. She said it was my last hope. “Where are we going Amma?” my six-year-old asked me over the sound of the rickshaw. “Just someplace,” I said dismissively. What was I to tell her? That we were going to a place that was my ‘last hope’. It was her last hope too. The rickshaw driver stopped in front of an old, small building in the midst of noisy Saddar. With a heavy heart, I paid him Rs200, what we had agreed on. How would we go back? Maybe the NGO people could lend us money. When we walked inside ...

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I thought he was a beggar-child…

I was deep in my thoughts, standing at the railway station, when a slight tug on my shirt startled me. Averting my gaze towards the source of the tug, I saw a child. A sense of pity washed over; I took out some money from my pocket and tried to give it to the child, but he refused to take it. Feeling even more empathetic towards him, I gently took his small palm into my hands and placed the money there. Suddenly, a man came rushing towards us, “He is not a beggar! You look smart enough to know that!” he ...

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Pakistani Twitterati took on the #PetrolShortage and here is what happened

Already frustrated by crippling electricity and gas shortages, Pakistanis now have another crisis on their hands. This time around, Pakistanis are standing in mammoth queues just to secure a drop of petrol. The ‘petrol crisis’, as it is being referred, brought to light some interesting and entertaining observations on the country’s favourite government-bashing platform: Twitter. Three hashtags are currently being used to respond to the petrol shortage in the country; #PMLNpetrolchor was the top trend, with it being used over 19,500 times in the past 24 hours and #PetrolShortage and #SherBanoSher were each tweeted nearly 6,000 times since yesterday. We look at how people reacted: This @Reuters report ...

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Four things Imran Khan did right at the Larkana rally

With success of the massive public gathering in Larkana, Imran Khan has made a knock-on effect on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Whilst everyone in the political arena was waiting for the outcome of this rally, many said it would be difficult for the cricketer-turned-politician to gain a foothold in Sindh – often considered the political backyard of the PPP; others were counting on his failure, hoping that this jalsa would be the cause of Imran’s fall. However, on the contrary, Imran made a very strong statement; a show of strength, attracting a healthy crowd at the Larkana rally and, therefore, creating a serious stir ...

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Thar: A picture of negligence

Almost every year, Thar makes it to the headlines. Whenever metropolitans like Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad or Peshawar face some kind of energy crisis, ministers begin using the idea of Thar coal reserves as a solution for the country’s never-ending energy issues. The government remembers Thar when it comes to coal reserves, but why does it conveniently turn a blind eye when the people of Thar die of hunger and famine? Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has been ruling Sindh since the past six year. Six years is enough time for a provincial government to understand, evaluate and solve issues like the drought in ...

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Privatise this, privatise that – just make me rich!

I look around my house searching for items I can sell and make a quick buck. I come across some furniture that needs fresh coats of polish before I can even present it for sale. This requires too much effort! Why don’t I just sell that antique painting that has been hanging in the drawing room for years? This is effortless and is guaranteed to bring me a truck load of cash. As it is, I just have five hours to make money! If I think like this, then it should not be a surprise that our Privatisation Commission (PC) operates in ...

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Drones, Pakistan’s worst kept secret

The current surge in drone strikes in FATA has reignited the infamous ‘drone debate’ and ‘Pakistan’s tacit agreement’ on intelligence sharing with the United States. Only a few months ago, Peter Bergen, a US expert on drones, had revealed that the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan may have finally come to an end. Not only Bergen, but even the current Nawaz-led PML-N government boasted of lobbying against drones and convincing the Obama administration to cease the strikes. Till June this year, one could believe these reports and revelations as there was a long hiatus in predator strikes. However, it was on June 11 when, negating such ...

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Entry tests and inept professionals: Another nail in our education coffin

A few days back, I came across the news that the government is considering to end the entry test system (ECAT & MCAT) for admissions in universities. The news left me utterly dismayed. The policy to hold these tests was implemented a few years back, to check the competency level of students coming from different educational boards. It was a good way to test individuals on similar parameters to understand their aptitude for a particular field of study and was a much-needed step. In Punjab, there are many educational boards – almost every city has its own – and alongside ...

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